Reviewed by Prof. Fuat Yuksel.
When women are growing up, they are curious about their bodies and sometimes, they may not be exactly aware of the small changes that they will go through. It’s a fact that the fluctuating levels of hormones in a woman’s body affect her breast development throughout life. A common question that women ask before thinking of getting breast surgery is: at what age do girls breasts stop growing?
Of course, it is important to know the different changes that your breasts go through so you can have the surgery at the time when they’ve achieved full maturity. The answer to this question is not simple as there are a lot of factors that affect breast development in females. So, let’s learn more about it.
At What Age Do Girls Breasts Stop Growing?
Before finding out at what age do girls breasts stop growing, let’s learn a little about when they start growing in the first place.
The process of breast development in females starts 2-2.5 years before she gets her first period. The average age at which breast development takes place in most girls is 8-13. It is normal for breast development to continue till a girl’s 18. It can also continue into her early twenties.
At what age do girls breasts stop growing can vary. Also, as mentioned above, the breast tissue will be affected by hormonal changes that she experiences in her lifetime.
Growth delays can occur for different reasons. Many parents use growth charts to monitor the development of their children. However, growth patterns are largely determined by genetics. Keep in mind that if a woman gets her period at an earlier age than someone else, it does not mean that she will grow larger breasts. Every woman’s body is different, and it will grow differently.
How Do Breasts Develop During Puberty?
Breast development is usually the first sign of puberty among girls. It is a part of the growth spurt. It begins with the release of hormones from the ovaries. Since breasts are mostly fat, these hormones (estrogen) direct the accumulation of fat in the breasts. Here, keep in mind that girls need a certain amount of fat in their bodies when they’re going through puberty. This process may be delayed in girls who exercise more.
At first, you’ll notice breast buds right underneath the nipple and areola (the dark skin surrounding the nipple). These look like swellings and continue to grow as the milk-producing glands (mammary glands), and the fatty tissue inside the breast continue to get bigger.
These breast buds may appear after the first period or 2-3 years after the girl gets her first period. It is normal to notice a breast bud appear in one of the breasts first; it may appear in the other one after around 6 months. Still, it is best to consult a doctor when your child begins the process. The beginning of breast development does not predict at what age do girls breasts stop growing.
Normal Changes To Experience During Breast Development
When the breasts first start to grow, you may feel tender. Moreover, since the skin on top of the breasts is stretching, you may feel itchy. If it grows too quickly, you may also be left with stretch marks. With breast growth, you’ll notice that the nipples stick out, and the colour of the areola may also change; it gets darker. The colour of the areola can also change when the body’s going through different changes.
While your breasts are growing, it is normal to notice that one breast is growing more quickly than the other. Usually, both breasts attain the same shape and size with time. However, in some cases, women are left with asymmetrical breasts. These are completely normal, but they can result in aesthetic concerns.
Other Changes That Breasts Go Through
The answer to at what age do girls breasts stop growing maybe 18 years or early twenties, but the breasts continue to experience different changes.
What Changes Do Breasts Go Through During Menstruation?
During puberty, the breast enlargement process continues. And as the woman’s menstruating, the breasts mature. The mammary glands, milk ducts and lobules continue to develop.
First, the levels of estrogen hormones increase and then progesterone. During this time, the milk ducts and glands enlarge. This is what causes swelling in each cycle. You may also feel soreness and pain. These changes are only temporary. Your breasts will return to their previous shape and size at the end of the cycle.
What Changes Do Breasts Go Through During Pregnancy?
Other than the enlargement of the mammary glands and milk ducts, the breasts prepare for lactation. Your body will also start producing milk in the second trimester. Other than that, you’ll also notice that the size of the nipple and the areola is increasing. The areola may take on a darker shade.
As the skin stretches, you may get dry and itchy. You will notice a significant increase in the size of the breasts. After the lactation, it is possible for the breasts to revert to their previous shape and size. They may also end up with a sag, which may be permanent. If you do not have children, the glands will start to shrink, which can make your breasts smaller.
The answer to at what age do girls breasts stop growing when they’re pregnant depends on the number of children they have or plan to have (more milk is produced if it’s twins) and their unique body. Growing and shrinking here happens because of milk production. These changes are usually temporary.
What Changes Do Breasts Go Through At Menopause?
This is usually the time when most women notice their breasts sagging. That happens because of a decrease in the levels of estrogen. This results in a decrease in the production of collagen, which results in the skin losing its elasticity.
The milk ducts and the mammary glands also shrink, which results in the breasts losing their shape. As the breast muscles change, the breasts begin to sag.
So if you’re wondering at what age do girls breasts stop growing, the standard answer to that is 13-18 years of age. However, breasts continue to change as the level of hormones changes.
What Determines the Size of the Breasts?
There are a few factors that affect the breast size of a woman. These can determine at what age do girls breasts stop growing.
To get an idea of how large your breasts will grow, you only have to look at the family history. That’s because genetics largely influence size.
This is another factor that determines the size of the breasts. Since breasts mostly contain fat, weight gain would mean an increase in the size of breasts. However, it’s not healthy to try to gain weight to get larger breasts.
What Causes Delays in Proper Development of Breasts?
An underlying medical condition can cause a delay in the growth spurts of children. This includes hormonal imbalance caused by the thyroid or pituitary glands. Other than that, malnourishment can also cause a delay in puberty. It is important for a girl to have a well-balanced diet to allow her breasts to grow normally.
Is It Possible to Change the Shape of My Breasts?
Your genetics and weight determine the size and shape of your breasts. They’re the ones that determine at what age do girls breasts stop growing. You cannot try to change it using different products or devices like the ones below:
Creams, Oils, Pills & Supplements
You may read about different “natural” supplements and pills that can enhance the size of the breasts. It is quite likely that it won’t work. Any effects from the treatment might only be temporary. Similarly, you’ll find oils and creams in the market that claim to increase the size of the breasts one way or another. These also don’t quite work. They might also not be safe to use.
Also, it is not true that exercise can enlarge the breasts. It, in fact, has the opposite effect. When you burn fat in your body, it can be from anywhere, including the breasts. So, you might notice a decrease in the size of your breasts.
The only way you can actually get to change the shape of your breasts is by undergoing breast surgery. There are different aesthetic concerns that a woman can have with her breasts at different points in her life.
You may want surgery to correct asymmetry. Or you may want to enlarge or decrease the size of your breasts. Many women also get breast lift surgery to deal with sagging. In these surgeries, the surgeon adjusts the skin, tissue, and fat in the breasts to get the desired shape. If your main concern is the size of your breast, you may get breast implants for it or benefit from breast reduction surgery.
What’s The Ideal Age For Breast Surgeries?
That depends on at what age do girls breasts stop growing. Going through their teenage years, some girls feel conscious about their breasts for different reasons. However, at that time, their breasts might still be growing and changing. That’s why they cannot undergo breast surgery then. They usually have to wait till they’re at least 18 or in their early 20s to get breast surgery.
To answer, at what age do girls breasts stop growing, it can be anywhere between 13 to 18. However, breasts change before puberty, during menstruation, pregnancy and menopause. Different factors affect the overall shape and size of the breasts. Keep in mind it’s not possible to change them other than getting cosmetic surgery.